United States must recognise Israeli sovereignty over Golan

22 March, 2019, 01:25 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Israeli tanks during training in the Golan Heights near the city of Quneitra on the Israeli Syrian Border 12 February 2019

Trump tweeted, without providing any other details.

Recognition of the disputed area, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in 1981 in a move not recognised internationally, would mark a major shift in US policy days before Netanyahu arrives in Washington to meet with Trump and address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). However, the official declined to comment on the statement when asked by reporters.

A change in the U.S. view of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which it captured from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War, along with the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, was also hinted at last week when the State Department changed its usual description of the plateau from "Israeli-occupied" to "Israeli-controlled" in an annual global human rights report.

Earlier this month, a senior United States administration official told reporters in Washington that there was "no change in [US] outlook or our policy vis-a-vis these territories and the need for a negotiated settlement there".

Syrian President Bashar Assad as members of the Druze community attend a rally in the Druze village of Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights commemorating the 45th anniversary of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, on October 6, 2018. "Thank you, Mr. President", he said.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz said the move would strengthen Israel's security. "It is in the hands of Israel and will always remain in the hands of Israel", he said at the time. Since taking office, Trump has upended U.S. policy and taken a series of steps welcomed by Israel, most notably by recognizing contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv. Responding on Twitter, Netanyahu thanked Trump for "boldly recognizing" Israel's sovereignty over the land.

Greece-Cyprus-Israel summit in Jerusalem

In a speech broadcast on the Persian New Year on Thursday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the Islamic Republic had successfully resisted "unprecedented, strong" US sanctions.

Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Network's "Mornings with Maria" that he did not intend his move as an explicit election boost for Netanyahu. But the United States and the worldwide community have long considered it Syrian territory under Israeli occupation.

It later annexed the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem in moves never recognized by the worldwide community.

J Street, a liberal Jewish-American lobbying group, criticized Trump's action, saying that premature US recognition of Israeli sovereignty of Golan is a needlessly provocative move that violates global law.

Panetta, who was speaking on CNN, said the Golan recognition "gives up one of the chips that everyone thought would be part of a Middle East peace agreement deal".

Trump's latest shakeup comes ahead of the expected unveiling of a White House plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace.


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